Driven Honda CRZ

20 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Driven Honda CRZ отключены

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

Chris Harris

2012 Honda CR-Z

Who says hybrid cars can t be …? Why should they miss out on head-turning looks and driving thrills, just because they re the pin-ups for environmental friendliness?

Honda describes its circa-$35K petrol-electric CR-Z as a responsibly indulgent coupe that will change current perceptions of hybrids by being fun to drive everyday .

Marketing hype aside, the CR-Z has some merit. It is, Honda says, the world s first hybrid car to come equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

But don t be conned into thinking this is some kind of high-performance coupe or a reincarnation of the late 1980s CR-X, from which it takes its styling inspiration. It s certainly not from the company s … Type-R stable, either.

Instead, the 1160 kilogram CR-Z offers peppy performance and surprising agility, but only after you ve pressed the Sport button. With its 3D-styled dash now glowing red, the CR-Z calls on its electric motor more often for maximum torque off the line while sharpening throttle response and adding more steering weight.

The rest of the time, the CR-Z switches its focus to fuel efficiency. It does this by incrementally reducing responses to steering and throttle input, the level of assistance from the electric motor and even the airconditioner s effectiveness.

This means it s less engaging in Econ or Normal modes where you re encouraged to learn the unsexy but dare we say it, rewarding ways of efficient driving via clever graphical tutorials that grow virtual trees on the dash readout to reward thriftiness.

Honda says the three drive modes allow the driver to choose between a spirited jaunt, maximum economy or a balance between the two.

Still, it can be difficult to enjoy Sport mode and be free of guilt with the CR-Z s eco-symbolism so prominently displayed. So much for responsible indulgence.

Despite its overtly green technology, a manual-equipped CR-Z officially uses 5.0 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres while the continuously variable transmission (CVT) version uses 4.7L/100km. Toyota s larger, heavier Prius sips 3.9L/100km, by contrast.

The twisty roads around Victoria s Yarra Valley Ranges inspired an enthusiastic media launch, admittedly mostly in Sport mode with little concern for economy. Expect to see better than our 9.4L/100km average in everyday commuting.

With its short wheelbase lending a sense of nimbleness, the CR-Z sits flat through tight bends, even if it lacks the innate connection between car and driver of a Mazda MX-5, or the go-kart-like handling of a Mini Cooper.

Like the Mazda, the CR-Z could use more power. although the manual model feels brisker than its 0-100km/h time of 9.7 seconds would suggest. The CVT-equipped model feels comparatively sluggish at 10.2 seconds, however.

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit and a 10kW electric motor that produces a combined 91kW of power and 174Nm of torque. Its battery is stored under the space-saver spare wheel in the boot.

When paired with the manual gearbox, there s also an encouraging exhaust note and even a hint of Honda s much-loved induction noise at higher revs. Tyre roar also adds to the mix.

The CVT with its walking stick-like gearlever replaces driver delight with a familiar engine drone, while reducing torque to 167Nm. At least it also comes with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for some interactivity.

The self-shifter costs an extra $2300 on the entry-level CR-Z Sport (priced from $34,990 plus on-road and dealer costs) and comes standard on the CR-Z Luxury (from $40,790).

The CR-Z s interior is a mix of pleasure and pain. The low driving position is reminiscent of the Civic hatches of the 1980s and 90s with ample legroom and passable headroom for tall adults, and the dash presentation is interesting, intuitive and made of decent-quality materials.

But why Honda bothered to fit a rear seat into the 2+2 coupe is confusing, and cruel if you inflict it upon even small children.

Perhaps the flat-folding rear backrest helps to insulate rear tyre noise from front occupants. Then there s the tiny, porthole-like side windows for a genuinely claustrophobic feel. At least there s a decent-sized boot, though.

Honda isn t expecting the CR-Z to become a volume seller. Instead, it hopes the eco-minded coupe will inject some sports-oriented vitality back into its range.

It s far from perfect, particularly given there are conventionally engined alternatives that sip less fuel. But the CR-Z is a bit unusual and, backed by keen pricing, could prove difficult to resist for hybrid buyers yearning for a little more excitement.

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

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